Penne with Swordfish Mint and Pine Nuts

A pasta dish from Sicily that celebrates fresh fish and mint. Serves 4


  • 1 pound swordfish steak, about 1 inch thick
  • ¾ pound penne
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper


  1. In a small frying pan, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Or toast them in a 350° oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the ½ tablespoon oil over moderate heat.
  3. Sprinkle the swordfish with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add the fish to the pan and cook 4 minutes.
  4. Turn and cook until the fish is just done, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove.
  5. When the fish is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1-inch cubes.
  6. Wipe out the pan. Add the remaining ¼ cup oil to the pan and heat over moderately low heat.
  7. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in ¼ cup of the mint and remove the pan from the heat.
  8. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the penne until just done, about 13 minutes.
  9. Drain and toss with the swordfish, the garlic-and-mint oil, the pine nuts, the remaining ¼ cup mint, and ½ teaspoon salt.

Photo by  Max Straeten via morgueFile used with license

Bread, Potato and Arugula Soup (Zuppa di Patate, Rucola, e Pane)

The ideal arugula to use for this soup is the tougher, wilder kind; the fragile hydroponic type is too delicate for this dish. Serves: 8


  • ¾ pound medium-size potatoes (about 2 potatoes), peeled and cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 1 pound arugula (2 to 3 large bunches), preferably not hydroponic or “baby”
  • ½ cup dices (½-inch) day-old Italian bread with crusts removed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 whole peperoncino (dried hot red pepper) or ½ teaspoon peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
  • 7 cups water
  • Salt


  1. In a deep, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot, combine the potatoes and water. Salt the water lightly and bring to a boil. Adjust the level of heat to medium-high and cook the potatoes, covered until they are tender but still hold their shape, about 18 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut off the thick stems from the arugula and wash the leaves in cool water to remove all sand and grit, changing the water if necessary. Drain the arugula well and cut into 2-inch lengths.
  3. Stir the arugula and bread into the pot and let boil for another 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and peperoncino and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the soup pot and stir well. If using a dried whole pepper, remove it. Season the soup to taste wand serve in warm bowls, sprinkled with grated cheese and drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil.

Photo by Sharon K via Flickr used with CC Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike license

Tomato Sauce

Makes about 4 ½ cups or enough for 8-10 servings of pasta


  • 2 cans (28oz) of crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup plus 2 ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 6 fresh bay leaves (or 3 dried)
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • Sea salt (to taste)


  1. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill fitted with the fine disc or crush them as fine as possible in a bowl with a wire whisk
  2. Heat olive oil and saute onion until wilted
  3. Add carrots and celery and cook until golden (10 mins or so)
  4. Add tomatoes, herbs and a pinch of salt and simmer until thickened (45 mins or so)
  5. Remove bay leaves and taste for salt

Recipe adapted from Lidia Bastianich

Fish Stew with Tomato and Parsley

Serves: 6


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cup chopped onion
  • 5 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ⅔ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cups crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1⅓ cups cold water
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1¼ pounds mixed fish fillets (such as sea bass, shark, orange roughy, cod and snapper), cut into 2-inch pieces


  1. Heat olive oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and sauté 4 minutes.
  2. Add parsley and stir 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomato and cook 2 minutes longer.
  4. Add 1⅓ cups cold water, dry white wine, and fish and simmer until fish is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  5. Season stew to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Adapted from Bon Appetit via Epicurious. Photo by Jules via Flickr used with CC Attribution license